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Baldwin family of Stourport

  • 23 June 2014

John BALDWIN was born c.1812 in Lower Mitton (Stourport), Worcestershire, and was the son of Thomas and Sarah Baldwin. He wasn’t baptised until the age of 6 (the baptism took place as Stourport Wesleyan Methodist Church). I haven’t been able to find out much about Thomas and Sarah, other than Thomas was born around 1779 and died in Stourport in 1849. Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown, died on 8th July 1839, aged 60. They are known to have had six children, born between 1803-1819 – the five youngest all being baptised at Stourport Wesleyan Methodist Church.

John Baldwin became a boat builder and a Methodist lay preacher. On 8th September 1834 he married Mary JONES from Yarpole, Herefordshire, at St Leonard’s Church, Ribbesford. There’s a likely baptism of Mary on FamilySearch, which gives her parents as James and Jane JONES and her baptism date as 10th March 1811.

The family moved to Greets Green in Staffordshire sometime between 1837 and 1840, and he lived next door to James Baldwin (c.1803-1872), also a boat builder. It appears that John & James were brothers, although so far I haven’t yet found a baptism for James. A newspaper advertisement from February 1843 includes the sale by auction of  “dwelling house, workshops, outbuildings, timber yard, and wharf, Greets Green, Swan Village, late in the occupation of Edw. Davis but now of Messrs John Jones and Baldwin,” so it could be that this sale prompted the brothers to return to Worcestershire. Certainly, John had returned to Lower Mitton (Stourport) by about 1850 – J Baldwin, Stourport is listed as a boat builder in the 1850 Post Office directory, and in directories of 1872 and 1878, which list him also as a grocer in the High Street.

Local newspapers indicate that John was declared insolvent in December 1861, at which time he was living in lodgings in New Street, Stourport (the house of his brother, James) and carrying on his boat building business in the Lower Dock, Stourport. It is possible that John’s insolvency may be linked to the decline in Stourport’s canal trade, which was significantly affected by the opening of the Birmingham to Gloucester Railway in 1840. He doesn’t appear in the 1864 or 1868 trade directories but then later entries show he had diversified into the grocery business.

John and Mary seem to have had nine children born between 1835 and 1852: Alice (born 1835); Mary Ann (1837-1913) who married Titus Wainwright; James (1839-1917) a boat builder who married (1) Sarah Jennings and (2) his first cousin, Sarah Ann Baldwin (daughter of John’s brother, James); Sarah (1841-1914) who married (1) Isaac Williams and (2) Thomas Watkins; Elizabeth (born 1843); John (1845-1849); William (born and died 1848); Thomas (1849-1919); and Theodosia Martha (1852-1900) who married David Middleton.

Mary seems to have died in 1867 and John married his second wife, Fanny MOLE (formerly VINALL) on 31st December 1869 in Brompton, Middlesex. Fanny was a widow, and was 19 years younger than John with a daughter, Fanny Jane MOLE (born 1867), by her first husband, William MOLE. John and Fanny’s first child, Ada Mary BALDWIN, was born on 9th March 1871 and their second child, John BALDWIN, was born in 1874. Fanny’s occupation on the 1871 census is given as grocer and, in the 1876 Post Office directory of Worcestershire, John Baldwin, High Street, Stourport is listed as: grocer, china & glass dealer and boat builder. John died in Stourport in 1889 but it seems that Fanny carried on as a shopkeeper and is listed as such in the 1892 Kelly’s directory of Worcestershire. Her death, aged 60, is registered January-March 1893.

I still have some work to do on this family – I had thought that there might be a link with the family of Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister and relative of the owners of E P & W Baldwin ironworks at Wilden, where several of John’s in-laws worked. Some of the grandchildren of John’s daughter, Sarah Baldwin, who married Isaac Williams were given the middle name ‘Baldwin’. I thought this was probably to preserve some potential link with Sarah’s family. However, the story in the family is that this is because their godmother was a Miss Clark, who had been a nanny to Stanley Baldwin and only agreed to be a godmother to the children if they were given the name Baldwin as a middle name. This story was told to me c.1995 by Ernest Williams (1911-2005), the son of John Baldwin Williams (1887-1963). As first cousins Alice Baldwin Williams and John Baldwin Williams were both baptised on the same day in the same church, it’s certainly possible that they both had the same godmother and that the story about Miss Clark is correct.

Information from Stourport Civic Society is that the boat-building Baldwins are unlikely to be related to the family of Stanley Baldwin. According to the Society, the family of Stanley Baldwin moved to Stourport from the Corvedale area of Shropshire in the 1780s, at which time there were already some unrelated Baldwins established in the town. It seems that ‘my’ John Baldwin was part of this earlier Stourport family.


  • Hello Tracey. I am interested in the Baldwin family who lived in Stourport in the late 1800s. My maternal grandmother was born Evelyn Baldwin in 1914 in Panteg South Wales but her father was a Baldwin from Stourport. He had moved to S Wales to work in a steelworks named Richards, Thomas & Baldwin. My mother used to visit a big house with orchards in Stourport that belonged to the family. My grandmother always said she was related to Stanley Baldwin the PM and that her family either worked on canal boats or owned them. Possibly the Severn Trows and that she was related to the Baldwin family who owned the iron works too. Do you know where I could do research in Stourport to find out more about the Baldwin family who owned the iron works. Also, since your Baldwin family built boats where could I find more information about them?
    I would be most grateful for any information you might have. Thanks.

    • Hello Julie, thanks for your message.

      If there’s a link with Stanley Baldwin, then the house your mother visited might have been Astley Hall. He lived there from the early 1900s, I think, until his death in 1947. After this, the house was sold and became a school. It’s now a nursing home.

      For any research, I’d recommend Worcestershire Archives, which is at The Hive, Worcester. South Staffordshire District Council website has some useful information on the Baldwin family (the Swindon works in South Staffordshire was owned by the family).

      Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any information on my boat-building Baldwins. I know John and his brother James were boat builders but, apart from entries in trade directories, I haven’t found any records of the business activities. Do let me know if you find anything!

      Hope this helps,


  • My great great grandfather on my mothers side was enoch baldwin.his grave is in christchurch new zealand at avonside holy Trinity church cemetery.He imigrated to nz in the late 1880s I’m not sure why.

    • Unfortunately any Enoch Baldwin who died in NZ is not one of the Enoch’s related to Baldwin’s of Stourport Iron founders. All those Enoch Baldwin’s are my 3 x and 4x great grandfathers’ on my paternal side of family tree and they all lived and died in the UK. My family and I were invited by Stourport History Society back in the late 90’s and presented with the whole family history of the Baldwin family as they had been researching it all – we were very fortunate to be given all the information about the family. I have since recorded and updated the family tree on

      • Hello

        My GGG grandmother was Sarah Lea Burrow (née Baldwin). She was the daughter of Enoch Baldwin and Mary Anne Lowe of the Baldwin Iron foundry in Stourport. The Burrow family emigrated to New Zealand in the 1860s. Sarah is buried in the Avonside Holy trinity churchyard in Christchurch New Zealand. She did have a son named Enoch George however his surname was Burrow Sarah’s married name. The Burrow family were farmers who left Worcestershire due to bankruptcy. I assume you are a relative of mine?

  • What I meant was my great great grandmother was sarah baldwin daughter of enoch baldwin it is her and her husband thomas burrow who are buried in christchurch.

  • That’s interesting, Dorothy. Do you know who Enoch’s parents were? I have two Enoch Baldwins in my tree – one born 1870 who died in 1937, and his father, also Enoch, born 1841 and died 1913. However, I don’t have either of them as having a daughter called Sarah, so I’d be interested in finding out more.


  • HI

    I am a descendant of John Baldwin and Mary Jones
    He was my Gt. Gt. Grandfather on my mothers side. I believe they had seven children. Their son Thomas Baldwin my Gt. Grandfather married Emma Price, they had eight children, and their son Thomas Baldwin was my Grandfather. The first Thomas was a boat builder, but my grandfather was a postman. I have done quite a bit of research into the Baldwin family over the last few years, and I remember my mother saying she had relatives that moved to Wales, but I had not yet found out which ones they were.

    Fernella Smith

  • Hello Tracy
    John Baldwin is my 3x Grt Grandfather. He had eight children, you mention his son Thomas, but my 2x Grt Grandfather was Thomas’s brother James b.10-5-1839. Who married Sarah Jennings in 1859. James was also a boatbuilder.
    James and Sarah had five little girls, Patty,Alice,Polly,Sarah and Emily. They were born at number 4 Tontine Building Stourport.
    Their young mother Sarah died aged 28 when Emily was 6 weeks old, the same year his 10 year old daughter Patty was drowned in the River Severn. James owned the boat raft in Stourport which he sold around 1907
    Alice Baldwin is my Grt Grandmother on my paternal side.
    Her sister Emily went on to marry Henry Buckley who James Baldwin taught the business of boat building.


    • Many thanks for the information, Gary. It’s really spooky but I went to the Tontine several times as a child and loved sitting outside the pub watching the boats – it wasn’t until several decades later that I discovered there was any family connection with the area at all. I wish I could get back further than John’s parents – Thomas & Sarah (maiden name unknown) but I just seem to be stuck there.

  • just found out my husband was related to all of the above,,he used to go to a house on the tontine as a child to visit his aunt Gladys who was john Baldwin great grandaughter..strange really as hes lived in kidderminster for 20 years,,came from birmingham,,had no idea he had links over here,,but his mum used to travel over to stourport every here to stay at her sister’s house on the tontine stourport,,regards kim

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